When your mother is always a few seconds too late to react to the punchline of a joke or your father quits talking on the phone because it’s too tough to hear, it is time to discuss hearing aids. Although hearing loss is detectable in a quarter of individuals from 65 yo74 and 50% of people over 75, getting them to recognize their difficulties can be another matter altogether. Most individuals won’t even detect how much their hearing has changed because it worsens gradually. And even if they are cognizant of their hearing loss, it can be a big step getting them to admit they need hearing aids. The following guidance can help you frame your discussion to ensure it hits the right note.
How to Discuss Hearing Aids With a Loved One
Recognize That it Won’t be a Single Conversation But a Process
Before having the conversation, take the time to think about what you will say and how your loved one will react. As you think about this, remember that it will be a process not a single conversation. Your loved one may take weeks or months of conversations to admit to hearing loss. And that’s fine! Allow the conversations to have a natural flow. TOne thing you don’t want to do is push your loved one into getting hearing aids before they are prepared. If somebody refuses to wear their hearing aids, they don’t do much good after all.
Find Your Moment
When your loved one is by themselves and relaxed would be the best time. Holidays or large gatherings can be stressful and could draw more attention to your family member’s hearing problems, making them hypersensitive to any perceived attack. A one-on-one talk with no background noise also ensures that your loved one hears you correctly and can engage in the conversation.
Be Open And Direct in Your Approach
Now is not the time to beat around the bush with vague pronouncements about your worries. Be direct: “Mom, I’d like to speak with you concerning your hearing”. Offer clear examples of symptoms you’ve recognized, such as having a hard time hearing television shows asking people to repeat themselves, complaining that others mumble, or missing content in important conversations. Focus on how your loved one’s hearing issues effect their day to day life rather than focusing on their hearing itself. For instance, “I’ve noticed that you don’t spend as much time with your friends, and I wonder if your hearing issue might be the reason for that”.
Acknowledge Their Concerns And Underlying Fears
Hearing loss often corresponds to a broader fear of losing independence, particularly for older adults dealing with physical frailty or other age-related changes. If your loved one is reluctant to talk about hearing aids or denies the problem, try to understand where he or she is coming from. Acknowledge how difficult this conversation can be. Waite until later if the conversation begins to go south.
Offer Next Steps
The most successful discussions about hearing loss take place when both parties work together to make the right decisions. Part of your loved one’s reluctance to admit to hearing loss may be that he or she feels overwhelmed about the process of purchasing hearing aids. So that you can make the journey as smooth as possible, offer assistance. Before you have that conversation, print out our information. We can also check to see if we accept your loved one’s insurance before they call. Information about the commonness of hearing issues might help people who feel sensitive or ashamed about their hearing loss.
Recognize That Hearing Aids Aren’t The End of The Process
So your talks were persuasive and your loved one has agreed to consider hearing aids. Great! But there’s more to it than that. Adjusting to life with hearing aids will take time. Your loved one has to cope with a new device, new sounds and has to develop new habits. During this period of adjustment, be an advocate. Take seriously any concerns your family member may have with their new hearing aids.